TV Program Downloads and the Legal Maze

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Is copying TV program downloads to your PC illegal?

The simple answer is no.

The only thing that is illegal is taking copyrighted material that you haven’t acquired legitimately – and, of course, distributing copyrighted material that you have acquired legitimately.

You are well within your rights to copy your own tv program downloads,music collection or whatever onto your computer or your iPod, as long as you don’t then copy those files onto your friends computer or iPod.

As for tv program downloads and music on the internet there are numerous legal options, including online services that sell individual recordings to download and keep, others offer unlimited access to a media archives in return for either a monthly fee or a one off membership fee.

There are also plenty of TV program downloads that are both legal and free, these include one-off promotions from the major companies as well as products from little known production companies or upcoming bands who are more interested in exposure and making a name for themselves than making a profit.

As we’ve already seen there is nothing the media industry fears more (for obvious reasons) than the uncontrolled distribution of its copyrighted material.

It is difficult (impossible?) to see how the companies can stop people sharing files they have copied from their own CD’s or PC files even if they manage to legally kill off the underground file sharing networks.

The major companies do however have a strategy for stopping people freely distributing media they have legally purchased.

Its called Digital Rights Management or DRM, it involves embedding special pieces of code into music files for instance, (or TV program downloads or other formats for that matter) which digitally impose certain restrictions on what you can do with that file.

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